By Doc’s Sports
Big East basketball takes center stage this Tuesday night when the Cincinnati Bearcats will try and get back over .500 in conference play when they square off against the DePaul Blue Demons at Allstate Arena. This free college basketball pick is slated to get underway at 8:30 p.m. (ET) and it will be available on ESPN3.
The Bearcats cruised through the nonconference portion of their schedule with one straight up loss in their first 13 games, but it has been rough sailing so far in the Big East with back-to-back losses to Saint John’s and Notre Dame. They did bounce back with a 68-58 victory over Rutgers this past Saturday as five-point road favorites to improve to 14-3 SU and 7-6 against the spread. The total has stayed “under” in six of their last seven games.
DePaul is off to a respectable 10-6 SU start, but it has lost three of its last four games, including a 99-78 beating at the hands of Connecticut as an 8.5-point road underdog last Tuesday. It is now 7-6 ATS with the total going “over” in its last two games.
Cincinnati has done a good job at putting the ball in the net this season with an average of 74.2 points a game, but it has come nowhere near that total in its last seven games with just 62.9 points a game. The Bearcats will look to Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright to help the team break out of this scoring slump. Kilpatrick is averaging 17.2 points a game with 5.2 rebounds, and Wright is putting up 14.8 points a game and dishing out a team-high 3.5 assists.
Overall, Cincinnati is shooting just 42.8 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from three-point range. It has really struggled from the foul line this season in converting on just 62.8 percent of its attempts. Defensively, it is holding opponents to an average of 57.9 points a game and pulling down 43.4 rebounds a game, which is the second-highest total in the nation.
The Blue Demons have averaged 75.3 points in their first 16 games and have not scored less than 69 points all season long. The duo of Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin have accounted for the bulk of the production with a combined 34.1 points a game. Young leads the team in assists (4.4) while Melvin is averaging a team-high 7.6 rebounds a game.
DePaul has been slightly better from the field than the Bearcats with a 45.1 shooting percentage, but it is converting on just 30.3 percent of its shots from beyond the arc and on 69.5 percent of them from the free-throw line. The defense is holding teams to an average of 69.4 points a game while pulling down a total of 37.2 rebounds a game.
Betting Odds and Trends by BetOnline
BetOnline has opened Cincinnati as a seven-point favorite on the road with the “over/under” line still listed as OFF on its latest board.
The Bearcats are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 conference games and 18-6 ATS in their last 24 games on the road. The total has stayed under in their previous six games following a SU win.
The Blue Demons are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a winning record and 2-6 ATS in their last eight games against the Big East. The total has stayed under in five of their last six home games.
Head-to-head, the underdog has covered in the last five meetings with the total staying under in seven of the last nine games. Cincinnati has won five of the last six meetings SU, but it is only 1-5 ATS during the same stretch of games.
It would be hard to see the Bearcats drop their third conference game in five outings especially against a team it has dominated over the past several seasons. However, this is one of DePaul’s best teams in years. And the Demons are more than capable of keeping things closer than seven points at home.
Take #528 DePaul (+7) over Cincinnati (Tuesday, Jan.15, 8:30 p.m.)
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